On June 5th, Local Dipsea and Mill Valley historian, Barry Spitz spoke to the Mill Valley Historical Society at the final First Wednesday presentation of the 2013 season. A crowd of 70 guests looked on as Barry shared 35 historic slides and anecdotes of Dipsea champions, many of them from Mill Valley.
Also in attendance was local hero, Russ Kiernan. Russ is a 3 time Dipsea champion, 40 year resident of Mill Valley, AND a board member of the Mill Valley historical society.
Four minutes of Barry’s “slide show” also included film from the 1980’s archives of races. The film clips were taken from the movie titled, “Dipsea, 1983 – 1988”, which is available for check out from the Mill Valley library.
The Mill Valley Historical society will return with its season of first Wednesday speakers in February of 2014. There will also be a guest speaker of historical significance at the annual MVHS dinner in October. Check back to this web site in the summer for details.
Jack Gibson gave a very interesting talk on the history of the Marin Municipal Water District at the May First Wednesday Program. MMWD was created in 1912. A significant donation of land on Mount Tamalpais was made by William Kent. In the following years, using authorized powers of eminent domain, MMWD acquired the lands and waterworks of 24 privately owned companies. One of these was the Marin County Water Company which had created Lake Lagunitas in 1872 to supply water to San Rafael and San Quentin. Jack Gibson showed many photos of the construction of the dam for Alpine Lake which was completed in 1919. Michael O’Shaughnessy was the head of the engineering committee. In 1889, he had found a source of water, built Cascade dam for the Tamalpais Land & Water Company and surveyed Eastland and Millwood which became Mill Valley. Of particular interest were photos taken before and after construction of the dams that created the MMWD lakes on Mount Tamalpais. [click first slide for slideshow]
Doug Ferguson gave a very interesting talk and showed a short film on the history of Marincello at the April First Wednesday Program. As he was one of the lawyers involved from the very beginning in fighting the development project, he had first hand information about the battle. What a story. A city of over 20,000 people on 2100 acres near the Golden Gate came close to becoming a reality. The project had been approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Thanks to the efforts of lawyers working pro bono, many other volunteers and the public at large in the late sixties and early seventies, Nature Conservancy finally succeeded in purchasing the land from the backers of the development. It is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There was standing room only at the talk.
Historian Richard Torney was the speaker at the March First Wednesday program. The subject was the history of Kentfield and Greenbrae. His large collection of photographs, some over a hundred years old, told the story. He was particularly clever at relating each scene to familiar present day landmarks, e.g., the College of Marin, or the Bon Air shopping center. During the Q & A period, old timers in the audience who had grown up in the area added their own information on specific buildings and people that Richard had mentioned. Richard has appeared numerous times at First Wednesday programs, often speaking on the history of railroads in Marin.
Bob Flasher was the speaker at the February First Wednesday program. The subject was Druid Heights, an “unintentional community” near Muir Woods. The standing room only audience was fascinated to learn about the “beatnik” enclave which was in full swing … Continue reading →